"Don't let what you consider good be spoken of as evil...(but) make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification."
-- The Apostle Paul, Romans 14:16, 19
Newlyweds Mark and Nancy had hardly returned from their honeymoon before his employer -- the U.S. Navy -- sent him to a new assignment. Fortunately, Mark's mother lived nearby and invited Nancy to stay with her until the couple could be reunited.
Nancy had her own room, bath and phone, and full use of the house, virtually rent and responsibility free. She also had a new car and a part-time job for spending money.
A few weeks later, just before Nancy was to join Mark, she left a half-written letter to her beloved on the kitchen table. Her mother-in-law couldn't resist. "Oh, Mark," she read, "I can't wait to leave this place. It's been so rough."
I thought of that young bride's "rough" living conditions when I saw the huge banner in front of last week's massive demonstration in Washington, DC: "MARCH FOR WOMEN'S LIVES."
That the march was a political accumulation of all that's wrong with conservatives, pro-lifers, President Bush, and anyone else with an agenda contrary to their own is well-known. But it wasn't clear what that many able-bodied, well-clad, well-financed property owners and childbirth survivors had to complain about. Considering that abortion in the final days of pregnancy or financed with federal funds are almost the only restrictions left in this country to a woman's "right to choose," I can't understand why those angry women believe they have to fight so hard for the extra loaf they don't already have.
When I heard actress Susan Sarandon yelling, "Tell the government to keep its hands off our bodies!" I wondered: is there no one who will make the same plea for the bodies of the unborn? And when march-mate Lynda Carter described the pro-life stance as "religious and moral arrogance" and scoffed that any effort to control abortion was "the ultimate intrusion by government," I wondered about these women's priorities. Ultimate intrusion? You mean if I can't have total, unrestricted freedom to behave as I wish and to terminate life as casually as I create it, my government has made the ultimate intrusion into my body and my life?
Such was my initial reaction. My second was a much deeper concern: What is the reaction of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and across the Muslim world that this issue is so important to so many Americans?
My heart sank as I thought of the efforts of our fighting men and women who, in the eyes of many, are reshaping those formerly oppressed peoples into our image. No wonder our presumed protegs are burning our Humvees and dancing in the streets against the evil they perceive us to do.
The marchers claimed they were speaking "in solidarity." What a misnomer. Even that large a gathering was anything but the united wishes of millions of women who can think of hundreds of "ultimate intrusions" -- torture, terror, tyranny -- far more worth marching for than a self-centeredness that ignores the real plight and denied rights of others around the world today.
Finally, I wondered what God thought of such a self-flaunting display. I know. It would have been oxymoronic for those "I-am-the-captain-of-my-own-fate" signs and speeches to consider what God thinks about the lives he created, living or unborn. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that all the "good" the marchers felt they were doing was as off-the-mark as their voluminous sign. I wanted to shout my thoughts into a microphone, too:
Be careful, ladies, that "your good is not spoken of as evil" (Romans 14:16). For what you are perceived of portraying today may not stop at a few hundred thousand responses in some imminent tomorrow, but attract so large a response as to make your "ultimate intrusion" little more than a microscopic splinter in a giant hand.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local, free-lance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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